Minimum Qualifications to Adopt a Child
Please be sure to read about our specific adoption program qualifications, as many countries have their own list of qualifications regarding prospective parents. The information below applies to most international or domestic adoption programs. If you have any questions about your ability to adopt, please ask, we are always happy to discuss your personal situation with you.
In order for an adopted child to immediately immigrate to the United States, at least one of the adoptive parents must be a US Citizen. If neither parent is a US Citizen the immigration process would be more difficult, but we would love to talk with you and see if this is a possibility! We can work with US Citizens living abroad and may be able to work with non-US Citizens for some programs. While we are happy to work with non-US Citizen adoptive families residing in other countries, we may not be able to assist with the immigration process in those countries. There are no citizenship requirements for US residents adopting domestically.
Many countries prefer that married couples are at least 16-18 years older than the child they wish to adopt. Many also prefer that they are no more than 45 years older than the child they wish to adopt. Sometimes, these rules are waived for parents who wish to adopt special needs children. The rules are different for single parents and age requirements vary by country. US Immigration requires that single parents be at least 25 years of age with no age restrictions for married couples. Most states require that adoptive parents by at least 18 years of age and do have a minimum age difference between the child and adoptive parent(s). Parents adopting internationally will need to meet their state requirements as well as the country’s requirements.
As of now, all the countries we work with accept dossiers from married couples and most accept single women as adoptive parents. Bulgaria and Belize may accept dossiers from single men, but it is on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for more specific information.
Prospective parents wishing to adopt should in general be in good physical and mental health and have no serious medical conditions or communicable diseases. If you are worried you won’t be eligible to adopt, please contact us and we’d be glad to discuss your specific situation with you, we can then present your situation to our coordinators. While we don’t have any control over what the officials decide, we will work with our coordinators to present your situation to the officials in the most positive manner possible. Our agency has a “no discrimination” policy, however, the countries we work with do not. We do have programs that are open to working with adoptive parents who have disabilities so do not get discouraged. We have helped many families with unique situations adopt!
All prospective adoptive parents will need to show sufficient income or financial ability to care for an adopted child. The countries that we work with do not usually put a base amount on parent’s salary and as long as you are able to financially care for the child, they will most likely not have a problem working with you. The American government, however, does have financial requirements that must be met when the parent is applying for the Immigration of their adopted child. To see the USCIS approval guidelines, please visit their website at www.uscis.gov.
Parents who have any criminal history may find it very difficult to adopt. However, this is evaluated at a case-by-case basis and depends on the nature of the crime. Prospective adoptive parents will be required to provide both state and federal criminal history reports in their adoption dossier to complete the adoption process. Please notify us if you have ANY history of arrests or convictions before starting the adoption process so that we may assist you in determining your eligibility to adopt. For Hague country cases, you MUST disclose ALL convictions, even if they were later dismissed or expunged. Failure to disclose this information may result in the denial of your I-800 or I-800a and approval to bring an adopted child into the USA.
Some countries only allow a specific number of divorces for prospective parents. Again, these restrictions are sometimes waived if parents wish to adopt a special needs child. Please read the individual requirements for each country for more information. Prospective adoptive parents with previous marriages will be required to include documentation showing all previous marriages are legally terminated.